On Blanche

There is a painting of a woman called Blanche Wittmann by Brouillet. It’s called ‘A Clinical Lesson at the Salpêtrière’ (1887) and represents an imaginary scene of a contemporary scientific demonstration, based on real life, depicting the eminent French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) delivering a clinical lecture and demonstration at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. Blanche, the hysteric in question, is a woman alone in a room full of men and she is both subject and object. I am very uncomfortable looking at this painting and draw on this in my novel, Saving Lucia.